Alcoholism is a serious condition that affects millions of people around the world. Many people are looking to heal from it, but may feel intimidated to begin the process of healing. Maybe it’s the detox process, or maybe it’s the prospect of staying sober that feels intimidating. But in any case, many people refrain from getting the help they need because the recovery process feels like too much for them to take on.

For those who are struggling with this addiction, one of the most common questions is, “How long does it take to recover from alcoholism?” While the answer may vary depending on the individual, there are several factors that can affect a person’s recovery process. But one truth stays the same: it’s always worth it to pursue recovery. Regardless of difficulty, the benefits of recovery vastly outweigh the costs and effort of recovery.

Understanding the Recovery Process

Recovering from alcoholism is a journey that involves physical, emotional, and psychological healing. It is a process that takes time and effort, and it is important to approach it with patience and determination.

The first step in the recovery process is acknowledging that there is a problem and seeking help. This may involve reaching out to a support network, which can include a romantic partner,  friends, family, or a professional counselor.

Once the decision to recover has been made, the next step is medical detoxification. Detoxing from alcohol involves removing the substance from the body and managing withdrawal symptoms. This process can be challenging, and it’s recommended that people complete this process while under medical supervision. A medical professional can administer medications to ease the process of detoxification for comfort, and can address any medical concerns that arise. This is even more crucial if people are detoxifying from a heavy addiction and are physically dependent on alcohol.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is crucial in the recovery process. This can even help early on in the detoxification process, to ensure that people can purge the alcohol fully from their system. Physical activity can help reduce stress and improve mood, while a balanced diet can support overall well-being. Adequate sleep is essential for the body to heal and recover from the effects of alcohol abuse. Maintaining healthy habits can even be an early source of pride for people recovering from alcoholism who need to rebuild that part of themselves.

Therapy can help individuals understand the root causes of their addiction, which can help inform their approach to the rest of their treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and group therapy are common approaches used in alcohol addiction treatment.

Timeline for Detoxing From Alcohol

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The timeline for detoxing from alcohol can vary depending on several factors, including the individual’s overall health, the severity of the addiction, and the type of treatment used. In general, the detoxification process can last anywhere from a few days to a week or longer. It’s not just the fact that the alcohol is leaving the body — alcohol directly affects the nervous system, and so the entire body is working to correct itself to operate without the presence of alcohol.

Withdrawal symptoms may include nausea, tremors, anxiety, insomnia, and even seizures. These symptoms can be intense, and medical support is often required to ensure the safety and comfort of the individual going through detox.

Some people may experience PAWS, or Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, while detoxing from alcohol. This involves lingering symptoms that persist after the initial detoxification of alcohol, and can include:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

It’s important to plan for PAWS potentially occurring as part of planning for withdrawal. It may be tempting to relapse if there are prolonged symptoms of detox.

For people with severe alcoholism, there is a chance they will encounter delirium tremens (DTs) as part of detoxification. This is a phenomenon in which alcohol’s influence on the nervous system is so great that detoxification can cause confusion, seizures, hallucinations, and other serious side effects. If someone has a severe addiction, it’s important to plan for these adverse effects potentially happening.

Health Risks of Long-Term Alcoholism

Long-term alcoholism can have serious health consequences. The excessive consumption of neurological disorders, due to its effects on and connection to the nervous system. This can include stroke, seizures, and dementia. Mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, are also common among those who struggle with alcoholism. This is partly why it’s important for those who are already diagnosed with mental illness to seek dual diagnosis treatment, so that they can be taken into account in that person’s treatment plan.

In the workplace, a person’s prolonged struggle with alcoholism can lead to decreased productivity and performance. This can result in job loss and/or financial instability, even if the person has functional alcoholism for a time. Relationships with family and friends can also become strained or severed or severed over time due to an individual’s alcohol abuse, which can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Family members, especially children, of individuals with alcoholism disorder may experience emotional trauma, neglect, and instability. These long-term effects may be what inspires someone to enter recovery in the first place.

Benefits of Recovering From Alcoholism

A person’s body can go through incredible improvements once recovered from alcoholism. Despite the challenge, the body has a chance to heal and repair the damage caused by alcohol abuse as well as allow the person to resume working on long-term fitness goals. With sobriety comes increased clarity of thought, improved mood (or at least the ability to lift mood in more lasting ways), and the ability to rebuild relationships that may have been damaged during active addiction.

In addition to personal benefits, recovering from alcoholism can also have a positive impact on a person’s community. As individuals break free from the cycle of addiction, they become role models for others struggling with similar challenges. By sharing their stories of recovery, individuals in recovery can promote a culture of healing and resilience within their own communities. They may even be able to offer support to those looking to halt the influence of addiction in their own lives.

Treatments For Alcoholism

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There are several treatment options available for those seeking to recover from alcoholism. Here are a few viable options:

When people think of “rehab,” they’re usually thinking of an inpatient treatment program. These programs center on focused treatment apart from a person’s day-to-day life. Individuals sleep, eat, and live at the facility full-time while learning about sobriety and building coping skills for re-entering their daily life at a later date.

For people that can’t fully step away from life but may need extra support to get through detox and the initial work of treatment, partial hospitalization may be an ideal middle solution. This type of program offers many of the same services as an inpatient program but only takes place for half the day. There is also a heavier emphasis on relapse prevention.

For people who are exiting inpatient treatment or are committed to change despite a busy schedule, an inpatient outpatient program (IOP) can provide exactly the structure they’re looking for. This type of treatment is also ideal for individuals with a dual diagnosis or who need a treatment program with flexible scheduling.

Outpatient programs allow individuals to receive treatment while still living at home and attending work or school. These programs are often more flexible and can be tailored to fit the individual’s schedule and needs. But they can still include regular therapy sessions, support group meetings, and setting goals for sobriety to monitor progress.

Eagle Creek Can Help With Recovery From Alcoholism

Recovering from alcoholism can be a lifelong journey. Many people consider themselves eternally addicted, and commit to staying sober throughout their entire lives. Substances don’t affect everyone the same and everyone’s addiction is different. But working through recovery and overcoming the initial discomfort of detox is always worth it, as it then sets you up to have a clearer perspective about the role substances have played in your life.

At Eagle Creek, we work to help support men on their journey to recovery from addiction. Our dual diagnosis programs help support men with mental illness battle addiction while receiving the care they need. There’s no quick fix to addiction — our holistic approach helps men to heal from their addictions thoroughly, and from the inside out. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you heal from your addiction.